Page 31 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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BLOCH ----THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
in the Middle East, 1941-1943, by Rabbi Lewis Isaac Rabinowitz
(New York, 1945) who was formerly senior Jewish chaplain with
the British Middle East forces and the Eighth Army. I t presents
a “record . . . of the war service of twenty thousand ordinary
Jews from Palestine, of whom four to five thousand served in the
famous Eighth Army from El Alamein to I ta ly / ’ I t is a story of
soldiers who were no more and no less heroes than all the other
soldiers of the many campaigns of the Middle East. Everybody
knew them to be
Jewish
soldiers, with the mark of the Star of
David on their vehicles, which set the seal on their experience.
Jewish life in foreign lands having been so tragically affected
by events that led to the outbreak of the war, and certainly by
the war itself, it is not surprising to find the literature of the year
richer in publications bearing upon that life than in works dealing
with Jewish experience in this country. Except for Dr. Joshua
Trachtenberg’s excellent book,
Consider the years
, the story of
the Jewish community of Easton, 1752-1942 (Easton, Pa., 1944),
no striking contribution to the literature dealing with American
Jewish life appeared during the year. Dr. Trachtenberg rendered
a splendid service to American Jewry in issuing a volume which,
while in itself interesting and valuable, will serve as an example
worthy of emulation by other Jewish communities. A goodly num-
ber of Jewish congregations in this country have passed the century
mark in their history, but very few of them have deemed it wise
to commemorate the event by issuing a worth-while history of
the role they played in their respective communities. No adequate
history of the Jews in America can be written unless such basic
materials as local histories provide are properly utilized.
No mean
city
, by Simeon Strunsky (New York, Dutton, 1944), contains
an interesting chapter on the Jews of New York, the city with
which the book deals. A charmingly gotten-up, well-written and
illustrated booklet, entitled
After 70 Years
, by Alfred Segal, unfolds
the story of the Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati, 1945).
The
Classification of Jewish immigrants and its implications
(New York,
Yiddish Scientific Institute, 1945) represents an English transla-
tion of a symposium which appeared in Yiddish in
Yivo Bleter.
I t deals with the question as to whether or not Jewish immigrants
are to be classified as Jews or as nationals of the country of their
nativity. There are as many arguments in favor of the one as
there are in support of the other mode of classification. Jews who,
for quite obvious reasons, resent any effort to obliterate their
Jewish identity, deplore every attempt to deny them their Jewish
individuality. In
Americans all
, by Oscar Leonard, with illustra-
tions by Ellen Simon (New York, Behrman, 1944), grandfather
tells Benny how Jews helped in the discovery and building of